FlacoAlto (3759) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - APR 24, 2008
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
A fairly vigorous pour yields a three-finger thick, pale tan colored head in my 25cl tulip glass. As I pour this beer an interesting aroma of peaches wafts my way. The beer is a brilliantly clear, full gold color that is on the dark side for a Pilsner (think a fuller Bohemian Pils color). The head leaves some nice lacing patterns on the sides of my glass as it slowly subsides under the persistent level of carbonation. A deeper inspection of the aroma yields sweet, aromatic grain notes (touch of grape and some soft honey notes) as well as some dry, saltine-cracker like aromas, grassy grain and some light hop aromatics. The hop notes contribute aromas of herbal hay and some light lemon zest. The hop character is very soft here, though I suppose it matches fairly well with the soft malt character, it just is even more soft than the malt aromatics.
Wow, this is actually quite sweet, definitely not a typical German interpretation, but it is even sweet for a Bohemian interpretation. Though I think it really seems sweet because the hop character is so soft. This definitely needs more hops, nothing over the top, but enough to balance the sweet grain character that defines this brew right now. Flavors of chewy, fresh crushed pale malt, cracker like grain, and a touch of dusty biscuit flavors are joined by sweet malt notes that are a mix of honey-like grain, a touch of peach, . No surprisingly, with the sweetness, this beer has a fair amount of body to it; I wouldn’t really describe this as being crisp or even refreshing as most examples of the style are; it is not heavy either, just not quite as light as one might expect. The muted hop character contributes soft notes of grassy herbs, a touch of bitterness and some sweet lemon-drop notes.
A very different interpretation of a Pilsner. I would recommend adding quite a bit more noble hops (nothing over the top, just enough to let one know this is a Pils) and allowing the yeast to attenuate this quite a bit further. What do I know though, this might be exactly what Lightning was trying to brew, it seems so far off from the standards of the style though; it could almost be a Helles with this hop character, but it is too sweet for that style as well. Fairly tasty, but really a bit too sweet to be fully enjoyable for me. If you are one to complain that Pilsners are too dry & too hoppy, then this beer might be for you, I am instead hoping that the brewers are still dialing this recipe in, because I think that it shows some great potential.
Purchased: South Bay Drugs Pharmacy, Imperial Beach CA
WeeHeavySD (3360) - San Diego (Hillcrest), Oregon, USA - DEC 16, 2007
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
On Tap @ Hams. Pours clear yellow with a bright white head. Nose is nice and has some good citrus notes. Taste is sweet and robust with a nice full mouth feel and light hops.
pantanap (3351) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - FEB 21, 2009
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
22oz bottle from my buddy paul in SD.....pours a golden hazy orange brown, almost IPA like, with a considerable white soapy head....interesting aroma of almost resembling a saison. citrus and sweet tropical fruit, mustiness, and a sweet tartish nose.... flavors aren’t as vibrant but some of the same notes are present, however dumbdowned. some added spice and yeastiiness as well. high in carbonation with a dry finish.
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - JUN 27, 2008
2.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Pours a clear yellow golden color with a spongy white head. The foam settles slowly to a thin film, leaving patchy rings of lacing on the glass. The aroma is disagreeable, showing a weird mix of sourdough yeast, eggy custard, and sweet, corny malts. Flavors, too, seem to be off. Lemongrass hops lend bitterness, but do little to counter the egg whites and the pungent yeast. Hoppy flan, sans the caramel, is what this reminds me of. The mouthfeel is substantial for the style, but a little on the light side overall. Moderate carbonation leads into a lingering, sourdough finish. I just don’t dig this one very much. Their Ionizer Lager is a much better product.
alexanderj (3299) - Branson, Missouri, USA - DEC 4, 2008
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Despite the low ratebeer score, I had high hopes for this. Bottle. Poured a ruddy yellow with a white head. Aroma of sweet malt, grass, BO, apples and bread. As I sat drinking it, I realized this was definitely the wrong time of year to enjoy this. Summer would have been more appropriate. There was a weird, lingering and appleish after taste. Decent bitterness in the finish. Flavor was a bit hit or miss overall, but I still enjoyed it, although not as much as I had hoped.
Pawola22 (3262) - Woodridge, Illinois, USA - JUN 18, 2009
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Taster at the brewery in Poway. Pours a clear, yellow-gold body with a thin, foamy, white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a light lacing. Aroma is pils and bread malts, some straw hops, and a bit of citrus. Flavor is pretty nice. Lots of straw hops for a pils with a sweet, mellow fruitiness throughout. Bready with a touch of yeast. Finishes dry with a light straw aftertaste. Palate is light bodied and crisp. Overall, not a bad pils at all. Sweet with enough hops to balance it out.
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - DEC 7, 2008
2.4 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Pours light gold from the bomber with a decent white head. Aroma is light dough and subtle hops. Flavor is more on the sweet side, as it tastes like a light tripel. A bit of lemon zest does not help and the Saaz hops are hardly noticeable. Not very good.
theisti (3185) - Leawood, Kansas, USA - JUL 1, 2009
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: JUL 2, 2009 22 oz bottle purchased at Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido, California. Pour is hazed golden yellow with a frothy and lasting 2 inch pure white head. Nice sheets of lacing. Aroma of fresh bready, toasty grainy malt with some light floral earthy hops. Taste is the bready malt, though it has some earthy, almost dirty chemical edge to it which isn’t that nice. The floral hops are present, especially in the finish which has a straw grass bitterness. Very herbal. Palate is light to medium, with a long dry, even dusty, somewhat bitter finish.
DarkElf (3033) - La Jolla, California, USA - AUG 12, 2008
2.3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 9/20
02-Feb-08 (22-oz bottle: Purchased 01-Feb-08 for $4.79 at Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido, CA) I’ve been trying the various Lightning beers on tap for awhile now, but this is the first one I’ve tried from the bottle. Pouring this pilsener, the appearance leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, the golden-colored body is beautifully clear, but only the occasional carbonation bubble can be seen rising upward toward the top, and the white head is thin, filmy and very short-lived, quickly dissipating to a thin ring. The beer smells grainy and honey-sweet with not a lot of hop aroma unless the glass is vigorously swirled, which then produces modest floral hop aromas that still lag behind the sweet graininess. The nose leads perfectly into the flavor. First thought: wow, this is tasting really sweet for a pilsener! Sweet, honey-almond-like graininess really dominates, and the light but very floral hops seem to only magnify the sweetness. Very light bitterness does little to balance the beer’s flavor, and the mouthfeel really suffers for it. Medium in body, cloyingly sweet, and lacking crispness, it sits on the palate like a dead weight. Consequently, after less than half the bottle, this has become a chore to keep drinking. More aggressive carbonation might help, but it’s only medium on the palate. I recall liking this beer a little more on draft, but in the bottle, I can’t say I’ve enjoyed it and it’s not worth almost $5.00. At the very least, cut back on the sweetness and add more crisp hoppiness.
Snojerk321 (2960) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 10, 2008
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
On tap @ Ham’s. Pours a pale straw yellow with a good sized white head. Nose of German yeast and hops, with hints of sour citrus. I like the fact that lightning isn’t following the standard San Diego BIG, Giant, Beer trend. Congrats for being different.